What is Worker-driven Social Responsibility?

What is Worker-driven Social Responsibility?

Author(s)
Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network
Publication Date
May, 2017
Description

In a shrinking world of increasingly globalized markets, low-wage workers at the base of corporate supply chains remain isolated, vulnerable, exploited, and abused. Governments, which should be responsible for protecting the rights of their citizens, often lack the resources or political will to do so. State-based enforcement agencies and policy frameworks consistently fail to protect workers from dangerous sweatshop conditions and even severe abuses, including forced labor, sexual harassment and rape, in no small part because those suffering the abuse are largely not heard. Where collective bargaining rights exist and are enforced, unions can provide effective workplace protections. But even when those rights exist in the law, they are ignored in practice for millions of workers, while millions more are excluded from the legal right to form a union altogether.

In recent years, however, this bleak portrait has begun to change. Both in the US and abroad, workers and their organizations have forged effective solutions that ensure the real, verifiable protection of human rights in corporate supply chains. This new paradigm is known as Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR). It has been tested in some of the most stubbornly exploitative labor environments in the world today—from the agricultural fields of Florida, which were once dubbed “ground zero for modern-day slavery” by federal prosecutors, to the apparel sweatshops of Bangladesh, the locus of some of this century’s most horrific factory fires and building collapses. In these oppressive environments, WSR has proven its ability to eliminate longstanding abuses and change workers’ lives for the better every day. Accordingly, recognition​ of this new paradigm is increasingly widespread, and supporting it is now a moral and functional necessity.

In order to achieve meaningful and lasting​ improvements, labor rights programs in corporate​​ supply chains must be worker-driven, enforcement​ focused,​ and based on legally binding commitments​ that place responsibility for improving working​ conditions on the global corporations at the top​ of those supply chains​. Read more about the key characteristics of the worker-driven social responsibility model.​

A New Vision for Gender Justice in Housing

A New Vision for Gender Justice in Housing

Author(s)
NESRI
Publication Date
June, 2016
Description

Our housing sector continues to fail millions of American families producing rising rents, overcrowding, instability and displacement. Families with the lowest incomes, overwhelmingly single mothers of color, are hardest hit through a combination of failed housing policy and gender and race discrimination. NESRI’s policy brief, A New Vision for Gender Justice in Housing: Ensuring the Human Right to Housing through Shared Equity and Community Control details how to address one of the root causes of housing instability affecting single mother households: speculative pressure. Seeking alternatives, women have emerged as key leaders in the growing movement for shared equity housing through Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and/ or Limited Equity Cooperatives. These models reject the economic speculation undergirding rising housing prices, and can instead create permanently affordable housing through empowering marginalized communities—guided by human rights values—to collectively own and manage land with the goal of meeting the housing needs of all in their neighborhoods.

2016 CIW Workers' Voice Tour

Date:
Location:
Various
Description:

NESRI partner, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) farmworkers and thousands of consumer allies will be mobilizing to demand real, Worker-driven Social Responsibility from Wendy’s — the lone holdout among the big five fast-food companies of Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Wendy’s who has yet to join the award-winning Fair Food Program!

Despite the growing and undeniable success of the Fair Food Program, Wendy’s has, time and time again, turned its back on workers and consumers calling for the fast-food giant to join the FFP, ignoring their letters, phone calls and protests.  Likewise, Wendy’s has turned its back on the Florida tomato industry itself.  Inexplicably, just as the industry was being called “the best working environment in American agriculture” on the front page of the New York Times for its commitment to the human rights standards of the Fair Food Program, Wendy’s moved its substantial purchases of fresh tomatoes away from Florida in early 2015.  That’s right, they affirmatively decided to buy their tomatoes from farms offering workers fewer protections.

Most recently, Wendy’s released its own new Supplier Code of Conduct, spelling out standards on issues ranging from animal welfare to environmental ethics and human rights.  On the surface, the code appears to reflect a serious commitment to ethical supply chain management. On the surface…  Because when you dig beneath the surface, what you don’t see is any worker voice in developing Wendy’s human rights standards, much less in their enforcement (Make sure to read CIW’s response to Wendy’s Code of Conduct).

Drawing on the long history of CIW Truth Tours that paved the way for the award-winning Fair Food Program, the Workers’ Voice Tour will build on the three-year-old Wendy’s campaign, partnering with students and consumers across the country to amplify the call for farm labor justice.  The first stop on the tour will take place in the heart of New York City, at the sleek Park Avenue offices of Wendy’s Board Chairman Nelson Peltz.

From the Big Apple, farmworkers and their allies will bus westward to Columbus, Ohio, to join students for a massive mobilization at Ohio State University, and from there continue on to Louisville, Kentucky and Gainesville, Florida — all major hubs in the growing student-led boycott against the fast food giant.  Finally, the caravan will arrive in Palm Beach, Florida, for the tour’s big closing march in Mr. Peltz’s glitzy vacation hometown.

March 2 Immokalee, Florida

March 3 New York, NY

March 6 Columbus, OH

March 9 Louisville, KY

March 11 Gainesville, FL

March 12 Palm Beach, FL

See the tour website for more details.

 

Community + Land + Trust: Tools for Development without Displacement

Community + Land + Trust: Tools for Development without Displacement

Author(s)
The Baltimore Housing Roundtable, NESRI, The Public Justice Center
Publication Date
January, 2016
Description

Community + Land + Trust: Tools for Development without Displacement details the path to failed development and segregated housing taken by Baltimore to date, and offers a new vision for neighborhood control through shared responsibility and shared wealth: publicly financed community land trusts to create permanently affordable housing. 

  • Tens of thousands of vacant properties and homes in Baltimore present an ideal opportunity for conversion to Community Land Trusts (CLTs), where communities own land and control its development.  
  • CLTs can shepherd the deconstructing, greening, or transforming vacant property into community goods, green spaces and housing.
  • Transforming vacant property also presents equally ideal employment opportunities to city residents who struggle with criminal record histories and who can be trained to do the thousands of jobs needed to transform neighborhoods.
  • Community-driven housing and community jobs--combined into a single initiative, can increase community wealth and meet human need in marginalized neighborhoods.

The report challenges the City of Baltimore to commit $20 million annually in bonds for jobs--deconstructing, greening, and transforming vacant properties --and $20 million annually in bonds for community land trust housing. This 20/20 Vision for Fair Development is a gamechanger for the human right to housing in Baltimore and across the country.

The report was produced by the Baltimore Housing Roundtable, and co-written by NESRI and the Public Justice Center.

Worker- driven Social Responsibility Coordinator

Job Type: 
Jobs

Job Opening: Worker-driven Social Responsibility Coordinator

Organizational Overview:

Community + Land + Trust: Development without Displacement

Date:
Location:
Baltimore, Maryland
Description:

Join us for the release of Baltimore Housing Roundtable’s new report:

Community + Land + Trust: Tools for Development without Displacement

University of Maryland School of Social Work Auditorium

525 W Redwood St

Baltimore , MD 21201

United States

Community + Land + Trust describes how Baltimore’s development policies have failed to create affordable housing and good paying jobs for low-income residents and offers an alternative vision that prioritizes human rights and human needs. The creation of community land trusts and a renewed vacant housing initiative will create neighborhood-based institutions to drive development, employ city residents, and create permanently affordable housing that is equitable and inclusive.

NESRI is a founding member of the Baltimore Housing Roundtable, and NESRI staff co-wrote and produced this report.

Harry Smith, Director of Sustainable Economic Development & Dudley Neighbors, Inc. will speak on a successful land trust development in Boston.

Please join us to explore innovative approaches to Baltimore’s development challenges, learn from area experts, and enjoy a light lunch reception! Click here to RSVP.

Fair Food Standards Council 2015 Annual Report Launch

Date:
Location:
The NoVo Foundation, 535 5th Ave # 33, New York, NY 10017
Description:

As the first Fair Food Program label hits the aisle of your local supermarkets, the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) is releasing its third annual report. The report documents how the groundbreaking model of Worker-driven Social Responsibility, created by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), has transformed the Florida tomato industry into the “best working environment in American agriculture.” In 2015 the Program expanded up the coast to tomato farms in six additional states from Georgia to New Jersey.

Expect lively conversation between FFSC, the CIW, journalists, donors, scholars, allies, and workers exploring the significance of the program, its rapid and ongoing expansion (strawberries and bell peppers are already in progress) and the incredible excitement that is generating in other sectors from construction workers to dairy workers and from the domestic to the international.  

More information to come in the new year!

Downloads:

Healthcare is a Human Right Vigil

Date:
Location:
Statehouse Cafeteria, State Street - Montpelier, VT
Description:

More information here.

Film: A People's Budget - Our Voice, Our Needs, Our Rights

Film: A People's Budget - Our Voice, Our Needs, Our Rights

Author(s)
NESRI and the Vermont Workers' Center
Publication Date
August, 2013
Description

In times of budget cuts and other austerity measures, advocates and activists are often put on the defensive. As we desperately seek to protect food stamps, housing programs, head start funding and other essential public services, we get pitted against each other and lose sight of what should be obvious: the purpose of our local, state and federal budgets is to meet people's needs. This means we must demand an entirely different approach to making budgets, one that is grounded in our needs and rights.

The People's Budget Campaign in Vermont, spearheaded by the Vermont Workers' Center in collaboration with NESRI, has achieved initial successes to that end: the state is now required by law to develop a budget that addresses needs, advances equity and dignity, and involves people's participation. While we still have a long way to go to make this a reality in Vermont, we believe that this campaign can inspire human rights budgeting elsewhere. 

This video explains how budgets work now, and how they can and should work based on people's voices, needs and rights. 

This video was produced by NESRI in collaboration with the Vermont Workers' Center. The video was directed by Tatiana McCabe and animated by Jenni Yang, both with Second Heart (http://secondheart.tv/). For more information, contact info@nesri.org.

Multimedia

The grassroots activists who paved the way for single-payer health care’s political moment

The grassroots activists who paved the way for single-payer health care’s political moment

Media Coverage/Press Release Details
Publication Date: 
September 13, 2017

Think Progress writes that the growing support in the Senate for universal healthcare is a result of the work of NESRI, our grassroots partners, and others who are organizing across the country to change what's politically possible.

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